The capture of steamers by the Virginia State Line.
A letter from headquarters 1st brigade Virginia State Line
gives some interesting particulars of the recent capture of nine of the enemy's boats, near Piketon
, Ky. On its way into Kentucky
over 200 volunteers joined the brigade, though the march was much annoyed by bushwhackers.
The letter says:
Soon after the completion of the expedition intelligence was received by Gen. Floyd
that several boats were on their route up the Sandy river
, laden with arms, ammunition, and clothing for a regiment recently recruited near Piketon
, by Col. John Dils
, and which was stationed at that point.
The value of so rich a prize was duly appreciated by our commanding General, and such an opportunity for equipping and clothing our forces was not permitted to escapes.
Early on the morning of the 3d ult. Col. Clarkson
, with detachments of the 1st, 2d, and 3d regiments V. S. L., proceeded in the direction of Prestonsburg, Ky.
Bright and early the following morning we found the boats five miles below that town, and attended by a guard of upwards of 300 men. The proper disposition of the troops was speedily made, and the battle opened fiercely.
The enemy, after holding their ground for two hours, were completely routed and dispersed with the loss in killed of 20 of their number, among whom was Lieut. Colonel Levi Hampton
, and 30 or 40 prisoners.
The men, already elated by their victories, were still more jubilant on discovering that their capture consisted of nine boats, (60 feet long each,) containing 500 Austrian
rifles, with large supplies of ammunition; but what pleased their fancy more than all besides were 500 overcoats, 500 jackets, 500 pairs of drawers, 500 pairs splendid army shoes, 3,000 pairs yarn socks, 500 thick shirts, 500 pairs pants, 800 good army hats, and hundreds of heavy blankets, besides heavy supplies of sugar, salt, and coffee.
The value of the whole can be safely estimated at $250,000. The loss on our side was three killed and seven wounded. Among the latter was Capts. Kesler
, who were painfully injured, but not dangerously.
These gentlemen deserve high commendation for their gallant conduct during the engagement.
It fell to the lot of Col. Beckley
, of the 1st regiment, to lead the main charge against the enemy, and to his manly bearing and bold leadership of his men may be attributed our speedy success.
It is needless to make further mention of individual instances of gallantry, for all (both men and officers) did their duty nobly.
Our commanding officer
, Col. Clarkson
, won the admiration of his whole command, for he was ever seen at the post of danger and duty cheering his men onward!
Unloading the boats and packing the plunder consumed nearly the whole day. Late in the evening the boats were destroyed, with large supplies of tents and accoutrements, which could not be well conveyed away; and we set out in the direction of Piketon
to-make disposition of Col. Dils
and his regiment of 800 men. That officer had, however, received intelligence of our presence in the country, and we encountered him on the road between Prestonsburg and Piketon
"After a sharp engagement his men were completely dispersed, and we proceeded by way of Piketon
without further opposition, cringing off all our booty, and considerably more beauty than we had on starting out; for in lieu of half clad men, we returned with the finest equipments and clothing that Cincinnati
could afford.--From captured letters written by Dils himself, we discovered that it was his intention as soon as his arms and clothing arrived, to make a raid into Virginia
and attempt to destroy the Salt Works
in Washington county
In this raid, moreover, we brought off 200 horses, 100 cattle, many negroes, and prisoners to the number, of 200.
In the space of three days, in the severest weather of winter, over paths not to be dignified by the name of roads, we made a tour of 159 miles, and captured $200,000 worth of property.
Not only this have we done, but a new confidence has been given the people loyal to the South
, a new spirit has been instilled into the whole country.--Many have come out from thraldom with us.